Western Australia’s health minister has denied that private contractor Serco has been stripped of some non-clinical services at Perth’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Administrative jobs involving billing, health record management and appointment bookings will be kept in-house when the hospital opens.
Health Minister Kim Hames said Serco was never going to necessarily have control of those roles, and a decision had been made to have the work performed by Health Department staff instead because the hospital would not be “paperless” as previously hoped.
“It’s not part of the signed up contract that they will do this,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“This was to be determined later.”
Dr Hames said the decision was not a slight on the contractor and the state government did not need to pay back any money.
“We’re not taking anything away from Serco because it was never given to them in the first place,” he said.
The opposition has demanded to know how much extra money the government will be spending on the plan, but Dr Hames said the impact on the overall budget would be minimal.
Health Services Union of Western Australia (HUSWA) said it was further proof that the commissioning of the hospital was in disarray.
“While we welcome this move, our members are very upset about the amount of disruption the government’s bungled decision-making process has put them through,” union secretary Dan Hill said.
He said some people had already successfully applied for jobs with Serco and would now need to reapply with the department.
Following several delays, the hospital is due to open in stages from October, but will not be fully operational until April 2015.